Safely tucked away under the TV, next to a PS4 and acting as a stand for a Steam Link
Backside, in all its ghetto glory
FrankenVideo - the Pointless and Merciless
Warning: this is NOT a boring computer, per se. There, you have been warned.
A project of love and passion, from start to finish, based on a sudden desire to have a dedicated movie/Steam streaming/general living room machine and a crazy strange build of my own. Part money-sink, part made from scraps in a cave, it could have been done a lot cheaper and more powerful with more modern hardware and still maintain the same proportions... but where would be the fun in that?
As we Russians love to call these types of things - Pointless and Merciless.
- Where it all started: based on a S771 3GHz quad-core Xeon processor modded to be accepted by S775 motherboards. Professional quality modding, done by trained aliexpress people :) - cooled by a true classic Zalman CPU cooler paired with an even more classic Zalman fan controller, to take care of the wicked noise this thing produces - nested in a classic AeroCool CS-101 slim case I always wanted to build in - and was able to find a moldy rusty one covered in concrete dust some guy had lying around in his garage - powered by a stock 400W PSU from AeroCool that came with the case (fan had to be removed and replaced with something decent. can't even remember what I put in there at this point). - case has front USB3.0 connectors while mobo cannot even begin to fathom what it is. So, a dedicated controller based on a Via chip was added to handle that. Low-profile, but no low-profile bracket came included, so I just deremeled the tall side off and bent the rest.
Ah yes, the Motherboard. To be on the safe side, I sourced an ASUS one with BIOS modded to accept S771 Xeons. Pretty sure it would have worked regardless, but I found it from a guy who was modding stuff specifically for Xeons, so - why the heck not.
- comes with FOUR different DDR2 memory sticks all from different manufacturers, two of them low profile. Try that with a modern Athlon GE, see how this goes :) - started off as a no dedicated graphics build, thanks to the onboard Intel X4500HD graphics embedded in the mobo. A fanless ASUS GT630 card was added later, by chance of getting my hands on one for free, to better deal with simple games (without that, it was struggling in 2D). Again, low-profile, but no low-profile bracket was available... to heck with it, I settled for no bracket at this point. - last, and least - a cheap 60 gig SSD to run Windows and programs off
To be perfectly honest, this system DID struggle with 1080p video at very high bitrates, but I have not seen performance bottlenecks since dedicated graphics were added.
Cooling performance in an enclosed TV stand is... well, not good, the case fans are there more in spirit than in actuality, and the giant copper Zalman barely crosses the 80W TDP threshold of the Xeon. At least it's not noisy.